Cities and scenery, mountains and memories, Switzerland is a place rarely visited just once. It is a country offering so much more than the backdrop of lakes and mountains and the popular perceptions of chocolate, cheese, banking and watchmaking.
For an introduction to Switzerland, Geneva is known as the home of many international organizations, especially in the watch and jewelry industry and as a center for private banking and the home the United Nations HQ. It is a cosmopolitan city which is rich in culture and also a retail destination for a number of exclusive brands. As a place for a vacation or when on business, the accommodation available is of the highest standard and there are all sorts of gastronomic opportunities readily at hand.
It is impossible to ignore the sheer beauty of Geneva. Surrounded by mountains, and with its lakeside and riverside settings, it is a city of sparkling light and fluttering flags. From architecture to the power of nature, everything seems to blend together so that nothing jars as the city flows from one atmospheric area to the next. Getting around is easy too and there are delights at almost every corner.
Of course, Switzerland remains synonymous with the very best in hotel standards typified by an innovative approach in crafting perfect places to stay. And now leading on the trend towards suite-only hotels, Oetker Collection opened The Woodward in September 2021 as part of its Masterpiece Hotels. With only 26 suites, of which 21 boast stunning views of the lake just below the hotel, each of outstanding specification and personal touches, the hotel with its splendid façade combines history and modernity at its exclusive Quai Wilson address. It is right on the lake and has sweeping views towards Mont Blanc over the French border.
Oetker Collection engaged the services of leading architect Pierre-Yves Rochon and asked him to create something that is both functional and memorable. The result of his vision become clear from the moment of arrival. Every detail feels right and there is a comforting fusion of natural materials and contemporary features. Stepping in from the city and it’s a chance to unwind and absorb the sense of well-being which The Woodward aims for.
Leading the way for wellness at The Woodward is the Guerlain Spa which provides a choice of therapeutic and beauty treatments designed to reinvigorate and relax. From the high-tech facial “Facialist Perfection” to the all-embracing “Glamour in Geneva” program, here is a way to spend time well. In addition, Club Woodward frames its indoor pool and steam rooms with icy white marble.
The Woodward takes its culinary offering seriously too. Locally-sourced vegetables at Le Jardinier and the Michelin-Starred L’Atelier Robuchon showcase the skills and innovation of the chefs.
Geneva’s location creates a sense of being able to reach out and touch the surrounding mountains. In fact, it is only a short and spectacular trip over the French border to one of the great centers for winter sports. Les Trois Vallées offers a huge range of skiing opportunities with pistes suitable for skiers of all abilities from the novice to those chasing more of an adventure.
Here is a place with pristine slopes of deep snow, cobalt blue skies and exceptional sunlight. There is history and tradition here too and a respect for the landscape so that buildings are sympathetic to their surroundings. This is particularly true in the renowned ski resort of Courchevel which hosted Winter Olympic events back in 1992.
On the site where Olympic ski jumpers began their flights is the five-star L’Apogée Courchevel hotel, another member of the Oetker Collection. Being in such an elevated position affords astonishing views of the valley below and all the surrounding winter wonder. The air could not be any fresher and there is a vastness to the topography as it unfolds.
L’Apogée Courchevel is a special place for a winter sports holiday or simply a mountain escape. The whole “look and feel” is based around the sensitive use of natural wood for paneling, flooring, windows, and balconies. It’s all somehow homely yet still exciting.
The hotel’s signature Penthouse Suite makes the most of the view and it is possible to relax and appreciate it in the hot tub found on the roof terrace. The interiors are warm and welcoming with an emphasis on comfort and chilling out.
For something more than a little bit different, the hotel also features two, exclusive five-bedroom chalets. The first of these, Chalet L’Alpensia has a direct connection to the main hotel building with a chic spa and its conveyor belt to and from the skiing facilities. There is so much space and the interior designers India Mahdavi and Joseph Dirand have applied all their skills to highlight every aspect of the 5,920 square feet with something eye-catching and original.
Within L’Apogée Courchevel’s extensive grounds and with a totally compelling vantage point is the Chalet L’Amarante. The same design team has created what feel like a private home high in the mountains and yet with full access to all the hotel’s facilities. Spread over five floors, there is space for the whole family and a cocooning level of comfort throughout. A dedicated butler is on hand and it is even possible to request a chef for intimate private dining.
With a combination as attractive as Geneva and Courchevel, the only question is where to start the experience…
Founded in 2014, re-launched in 2019 – by Nel-Olivia Waga. It is an international luxury lifestyle blog, that features stories under the aspect of a conscious mindset. It collaborates with leading brands and specialists who share the idea of generating a positive impact in the world. Based in Zurich and London, it covers local hotspots and global trends around sustainability, innovation, well-being, health, beauty, travel, time, art, business and charity.
Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Marketing Specialist, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consulting studio HER CIRCLE, creates and co-ordinates holistic marketing projects for doctors and health clinics, banks, luxury brands and hotels around the world – based on strategies with passion, purpose and sustainable impact.
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